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Ashes 2019 | We Were Grateful to be On Winning Side at Headingley: Archer

Ben Stokes’s heroics in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, where his last-wicket stand with number 11 batsman Jack Leach led to a dramatic one wicket win for England to remain in contention for the urn made England fast bowler Jofra Archer “grateful” to be on the winning side.

Cricketnext Staff |August 29, 2019, 11:37 AM IST
Ashes 2019 | We Were Grateful to be On Winning Side at Headingley: Archer

Ben Stokes’s heroics in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, where his last-wicket stand with number 11 batsman Jack Leach led to a dramatic one wicket win for England to remain in contention for the urn made England fast bowler Jofra Archer “grateful” to be on the winning side.

When Archer was dismissed in the run-chase, it left England eight wickets down with 73 runs still required, and the fast bowler admitted that in trying to make Ben Stokes’ task easier, he feared he might have put his team in a difficult position.

"I wanted to make it less hard work for Ben but I got out,” Archer told ESPNCricinfo. "I thought I had messed the series up, not just the game but the series, so I was actually very, very relieved that we are still alive and fighting.

"Your coach always tells you don't leave it for anyone else. I tried to do as much of it as I could. We have all seen enough cricket to know, 80 to win with just one wicket left against the Australian bowling attack… We were very grateful to be on the winning side, that is all I can say."

Australia won the first Test comprehensively, but have since missed out on two opportunities to retain the Ashes, particularly at Headingley. And while talking about the missed chances, Archer said, “That is the thing, never get complacent.

"To be fair to them, 350 runs is a lot of runs. I think anyone else would have been in the same position. The crowd started getting on their backs as well, I think they panicked a bit. They thought they would have rolled us after getting a few quick early wickets but that was it. They did not go through us as they would have wanted and I'm glad we did show some resistance.

"The series is not over. The upcoming games they will think twice. I don't think they will declare now. I don't think they will be too attacking. If they get a draw they will still retain so let's see how the next Test goes. The way they play might be a bit different."

Steve Smith will return for the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, after missing the third Test recovering from a concussion suffered when an Archer delivery hit him on the neck in the second Test. A tounge-in-cheek Smith later said that “He (Archer) didn’t actually get me out.”

Responding to that, Archer said, "Well, I can't get him out if he wasn't there. I did want to bowl at him when he came back out (at Lord's) but he was out before I even got to come back on. But there'll be more than ample time to get him out. I'm not here to get caught up in a contest with one man though, I want to win the Ashes.

"It was a big turnaround (in the third Test), so many emotions. When (Nathan) Lyon fumbled the run-out, you could hear a heartbeat in the dressing room. When the scores were level, it was just a big cheer. At least we knew the series was not over."

Finally, Archer was asked about whether he will be looking to bowl even quicker than the 96mph delivery that he notched up at Headingley.

"I'm an optimist so I'll say yes, but if I don't I'm okay. Bowling fast doesn't get people out, you still need to put the ball in the right area. I'm all here for bowling fast but I'm also here to get wickets."

The third Ashes Test begins at Old Trafford from September 4th.​

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